Monday, May 25, 2009

RV enthusiasts still committed to RV lifestyle

Ventura, Calif. (May 20, 2009) – Recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturers and accessory suppliers experienced larger-than-anticipated traffic and sales at the nation’s largest RV rally, held April 17-20 in Albuquerque, N.M. In drawing 3,112 RVs, 353 indoor exhibitors and 140 outdoor exhibit slots over the four-day event, this growing annual get-together – officially called The Rally – again demonstrated the ongoing commitment North American RV enthusiasts have for the RV lifestyle.

Millions of dollars in RVs and accessories were sold throughout The Rally, now in its 10th year, including a $460,000 motorcoach by Michigan-based manufacturer Silver Crown. Roadmaster, Camping World and Demco were among the exhibitors reporting “terrific” sales, while a number of companies literally sold out of product.

“Our exhibitors are very pleased with the amount of traffic and sales activity at The Rally 2009; in fact, at times, attendees were shoulder to shoulder inside the exhibit hall,” said Sue Bray, executive director for the Good Sam Club, the event’s organizer. “RV manufacturers and aftermarket parts and accessory suppliers alike saw many buyers in a short amount of time, which is a testament to the strength of the industry and commitment to this lifestyle. It was a huge shot in the arm to an industry that really needs it.”

“The turnout was better than expected,” noted Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity. “Our goal was to get 3,000 family rigs to attend, and we ended up with 3,112. Both the indoor and outdoor exhibitors told us they were happy with the results. Dealers were able to get inventory moved, and the indoor guys were flooded with customers. The first two days of the show it was tough to just walk down the aisles; there were so many people inside. We delivered a bunch of buyers to exhibitors, and nothing makes us happier.”

RV travelers, representing every state and province in North America, camped at Albuquerque’s famous Balloon Fiesta Park, while exhibitors, seminars and daily activities took place down the road at the EXPO New Mexico fairgrounds.

The Rally has become known as the event and vacation destination of the year for an estimated eight million U.S. RV owners. Every year RV enthusiasts, newbies and veterans alike, explore the wildly popular RV lifestyle through the latest in recreational vehicles and accessories, live entertainment, family-friendly activities and educational seminars by nationally known experts.

Among the first-time events this year at The Rally 2009 were philanthropic projects, eco-friendly initiatives and pet adoptions. In an effort to give back to The Rally’s host community of Albuquerque, more than 70 Rally-goers participated in a day of service at Rio Grande Community Farm, while conservation expert Brian Brawdy showed how traveling by RV can conserve resources. The Rally also hosted dog and cat adoptions, courtesy of Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, which secured homes for more than half of the animals.

The Rally 2010 will be July 22-25 in Louisville, Ky; additional information and registration can be found online at www.therally.com. The Rally can also be found on Facebook (The Rally), EONS.com (TheRally), Twitter (@TheRally) and Flickr (flickr.com/photos/therally/).
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